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How many times, as a dog owner, have you looked out the window, only to see dirt flying all around? Most dogs love digging holes anywhere they find a dirt patch. When you notice this behavior in your dog, try to keep in mind that although all the holes might be a nightmare for you, they will look like a great playground for your dog. The good news is that most dogs can be taught to stop digging, although to break this particular habit you will need a lot of patience and time. This article will give you some great tips to stop the dog from digging, so you can enjoy a nice yard once again.
Why is your dog digging holes?
According to some training experts, dogs won’t usually dig without having a reason, and finding out the actual reason behind this behavior can help stop it. Below you will find some of the common reasons for dogs to dig holes inside your yard and ways to stop the behavior depending on each reason.
Some dogs use digging as a way of cooling down
You might also have noticed that your dog likes to dig holes more throughout the summer and just lie in them once he’s done. The earth in the hole is a lot cooler than the surface, making your dog feel really good there.
Solution: Instead of letting him dig, try to redirect the dog toward a shady option around the yard like under a tree and once he listens to you, make sure to praise him and give him a treat. When the temperature is extreme, it is always better to keep your dog inside, but for decent temperatures, you can even get a doghouse that has an all-weather protective layer.
Some dogs are simply born to dig
Digging is of course among the instincts that dogs get from their wild ancestors. There are even some breeds of hunting dogs like dachshunds, beagles, and terriers, that were trained over the course of hundreds of years to dig the prey out of dens.
Solution: To meet the dog’s needs for digging, the Humane Society of the United States, through its behaviorists, recommends buying a sandbox big enough for the pet. To get him interested in the new playground, try to bury a bone somewhere in the sand. When you notice he goes outside for a dig, give him a clear command saying “no digging” and then point toward the sandbox. If you cover the old holes at least temporarily with mesh wire and rocks, then they will usually become very unattractive to your dogs.
Some dogs try to escape by digging
There are some dogs that will use hole digging as a way of trying to escape under the fence. This can happen when the dog is bored, but also when trying to get closer to a neighborhood pet or while trying to reunite with the wild.
Solution: If you want to stop a dog from digging as a way of trying to escape, you can try to attach some chicken wire to the base of the fence. This can also be avoided completely if you simply spend time with your dog in the yard and never leave him alone outside for longer periods of time. You can also give your dog enough exercise and at least two walks per day to provide mental and physical stimulation.
Dogs might dig to bury their treasures
The ancestors of dogs, wolves, will bury their food while in the wild, to protect it from scavengers. Dogs have kept this instinct, which makes them hide their bones or toys in the yard from time to time.
Solution: The easy solution to this is simply limiting the number of bones and toys your dog gets, so he doesn’t have what to hide. Try to remove bones from your dog’s reach once he loses interest in them and don’t let him take any toys outside to the yard.
Some dogs might simply dig for fun
Many dogs simply find digging really fun. Digging in a way of getting mental stimulation through all the smells it creates. This might happen more in areas where you’ve been gardening recently.
Solution: Try to challenge your dog mentally as much as you can. Long walks, Frisbee, playing ball, or even training classes can also help, according to experts.
Will using cayenne pepper stop dogs from digging?
Although cayenne pepper isn’t really harmful to dogs when it is swallowed as part of foods, it can still irritate their eyes, according to the AKC. This is why trying to stop digging with cayenne pepper might actually not be such a great idea. The dog might touch his eyes or face with his paws after digging and he might get irritated.
Can you spray with anything to stop the dog from digging?
You can try to break this habit both by sraying a substance made at home or by going for the commercial route. It’s also worth noting that not everything will work the same when it comes to dogs and while some solutions will work great for some, the same substances might do nothing for others. Even though there are many things you can go for before you try a new product make sure you talk with your veterinarian first. One great example of a substance to stop dogs from digging is a combination of citrus fruit, apple cider vinegar, and citronella oil.
When going for commercial products, there are actually a few different repellents you can use. Below you will find just three products with all-natural ingredients.
- Bonide – Go Away! Rabbit, Dog, and Cat Repellent This is a product that will use granules instead of spray and is made of only natural ingredients like thyme oils and cinnamon.
- Pet Organics No Dig! This is another great product that will include thyme oil, clove oil, geranium, lemongrass, and citronella oil.
- NaturVet Off Limits Training Spray This is more of a combination of herbal extracts that include thyme, garlic, and clove.
Regardless of the product you will go for, you should consider using it in a combination with behavior training for best results. Keep in mind that breaking this habit in a dog will take a lot of persistence and patience.